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BAD PYRMONT, August 31. /TASS/. The Russian and German business must seek a gradual lifting of mutual sanctions and continuation of a dialog, the economics minister of Lower Saxony, Olaf Lies, told a German-Russian economic forum that ended in Bad Pyrmont on Wednesday.
"We must aim at a stage-by-stage lifting of mutual sanctions. Normalization of contacts is what we need," Olaf Lies said. Establishing a dialog "is also necessary for the next generations. This must be done exactly at difficult times, as it is easy to speak with each other when everything is good," the minister said.
"We won’t be able to settle all conflicts and challenges, but I am confident that we will manage to make a contribution to an optimistic development of our ties and stabilization of the political situation," Olaf Lies went on, noting that about 50 companies from Lower Saxony had their missions in Russia.
"These are not only major companies like Volkswagen, but also middle-sized enterprises that also decided to discover the Russian market and create jobs there," he said.
"Turnover between Russia and Lower Saxony stood at five billion euro in 2012, while in 2015 it reached only 2.8 billion euros," the politician said, noting that a decline in trade first of all affected the car industry.
"We must jointly work towards a step-by-step normalization of economic relations. Our business in Lower Saxony wants to cooperate with Russia, it is not withdrawing from the Russian Federation," the minister said. "The German side shows interest, and we also recommend our companies, if they are doing business that is not covered by sanctions, not to weaken contacts but to expand them," he said.
Lies said exhibitions and fairs were a good site for maintaining contacts. "We would like to restore the former relations - and not only economic ties," he said.
A two-day economic forum brought together some 150 politicians and business people from Russia and Germany, who discussed ties between the regions under sanctions.